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The Awesome Guy Who Has Lived 4 Years In A Farmer's Shed Near Astorga

life is a camino

New Member
It's been almost 1 year since I walked the Camino from Vezelay to Santiago, but I still remember my encounter with David and his Romanian friend Andri. The place is called La Casa de Los Dioses. Has anyone been by there recently? I hope they're doing alright, and maybe even managed to buy the shed.

I wrote a blog post about David called "The Richest Man in the World," in case you're interested.

http://lifeisacamino.com/2013/10/16/the-richest-man-in-the-world/
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Late last November David was, as usual, most hospitable. East of Astorga on the inland path after Santibanez de Valdeiglesias and before the Cruz de Santo Toribo is his simple place of true generosity, the Casa de los Dioses. There on a vast plain with sweeping vistas west toward the last camino peaks David has set up a pilgrim oasis. Sheltered by a vast adobe barn partly covered with vibrant graffiti David offers a welcome seat and coffee, tea, juices, fruits and cookies to all who pass. All that he so willingly provides he has carried from the nearest village for there is neither water nor garden here. However what is most plentiful at David's is a most special spirit and unconditional, selfless love.

MM
 

homa_bird

Member
Yes, I love this man David. He was the highlight of my entire trip. I know that sounds strange, with all the beautiful churches and vistas and all...but for me, his love and his choice of how to live his life, without possessions and entirely for others, provided the most meaningful moment of the 800 k. The small spiral maze as you walk towards him, his assertion that God is in all things (thus the plural: de los Dioses), the absence of possessions, pretention or pride, the hug and simple message (trust in God) he sent everyone off with...all these things were somehow what I was looking for all along, without knowing till I found it. Given that my personal pilgrimage was undertaken for my sweet grandson, who fought cancer the year leading up to my pilgrimage (we thought he had made it through, but he died two months after I got back)... I think my heart was always on the lookout for solace and a true connection to something divine. This little stand somehow provided it. So glad this thread is celebrating David!
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
When leaving Hospital de Obrigo, take the right hand route out of town if you want to visit David, it was a great place for a break, everything there is donativo but please leave a generous donation to keep it going.
 

Don Hoff

Camino Don
Camino(s) past & future
First time will be September (2014)
One of the very fine things which happen before the Camino, is getting to speak to those who have gone before, such as on a Forum such as this. People are in a true sense "evangelicos", ....Greek for the bearers and shares of good news . They are Peregrinos who tell you where to find a meal, a place to rest your head, and water your camel. They also tell the good news of where to to find a gracious soul such as David the host and his friend along the Way, at Casa de Los Dioses. I had heard about him before but forgot a few details. Now that I heard this good news again, I believe that thus us a holy Nudge, and we will change our plans, and walk another 35 km to visit this Place of Grace. Thanks to the person mentioning it one more time.
I noticed in some conversations about el Camino, and suspect that the word "Religious" is so heavy laden with institutional baggage, that it often receives a deep groan and sigh, when mentioned. Persons often say " I am not a religious person". I find "Spiritual" is a kinder reference, and encompasses so many of the wonderful aspects of el Camino. This "David by the Side of the Road" is what Spiritual talk is about.
 

pilgrim b

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances 2013-Ingles 2014-Frances 2015
St Cuthbert's Way 2017-Via Francigena 2018 & 2019
When leaving Hospital de Obrigo, take the right hand route out of town if you want to visit David, it was a great place for a break, everything there is donativo but please leave a generous donation to keep it going.
That is quite right Bajaracer, it is possible to take the more direct route by going straight on When leaving Hospital de Obrigo to Astorga but you must take the right hand slightly longer route.
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
That is quite right Bajaracer, it is possible to take the more direct route by going straight on When leaving Hospital de Obrigo to Astorga but you must take the right hand slightly longer route.
I'd go a step farther and recommend not stopping in Hospital de Orbigo, but taking the right-hand path another 2 or 3 kilometers to the small village of Villares de Orbigo where you can stay in a lovely albergue run by Pablo and Belen, and share one of their delicious home-cooked meals. It's then only a short walk of two hours or so through some delightful scenery to David's oasis. If you get an early start, you'll probably be in Astorga by lunch time.
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
I got to meet and hang out with david in late fall of 2012. I pedaled out of Leon AFTER having completed my pilgrimage to Santiago. I had left my bike at that little gear shop near the cathedral where I bought a pack so I could walk the rest of the way to Santiago. Anyway, it was late fall by then and it was really cold coming out of Leon that morning. I wanted to take that scenic route to Astorga. I had no idea David was there. A head wind had kicked up (now it was cold AND windy) by the time I reached David's little Shangri-La I was soaked through with sweat from pedaling into a cold head wind. I was approaching hypothermia and he saw me, cleared a spot on the couch by his wood stove (where he was cooking a large pot of vegetarian stew) and invited me to sit. I took off most of my clothing (keeping within decency's protocol) and proceeded to get warm and dry. I sat there for 2 or 3 hours eating, hanging out and just enjoying the day. There was a young couple there also I think they may have been German. They had the 3 legged border collie who was by all accounts the happiest dog I'd ever met. Actually at that time he still had all 4 legs but the one had been badly maimed when he had gotten hit by a car and left by a roadside. The couple had rescued him and were walking to Santiago. I don't recall if they were pushing him in a baby stroller or pulling him in a cart of sorts. The dog could walk and loved to chase a ball but would tire easily when walking. Does anybody remember meeting them?
Anyway, David's little oasis was other worldly. It was like stepping through a veil between the worlds. Everyone who came by walked away warm, full and smiling. There was a sense of joy there that was infectious. Of all my time on the Camino that was one of the most profound encounters and I had a few.
I hope he is still there also. What an example of unconditional love and charity. He would not touch the money that people put in his donativo box. I think he felt it was polluted or unclean or whatever.
If he is there, please let us know. I am going back next month and I may go that way again just to see him.
Thanks for mentioning him, I will remember him for the rest of my life.
 

david g

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
I remember stopping there in early October 2012, just to have a snack and something to drink. I don't think I've ever met anyone who so truly seemed to be living their beliefs of simplicity and helping others. I made some comment about his living situation and he gave me a quote that has stuck with me since- " Simplicity is the God of Happiness". It rings true to me because the time spent living out of my backpack, sleeping in albergues and sharing meals with other pilgrims, certainly the simplest existence I've ever known, was by far the happiest I've ever been.
 

dhansen1963

New Member
This was one of the highlights of my Camino. I remember feeling tired and the road towards Astorga seemed to go on forever. We stopped at David's oasis, a young man with a guitar sang me a song, and as I hugged David goodbye I had a very strong urge just to stop there, perhaps for a long time. But I continued to Astorga, although I often wonder if I shouldn't have listened to that little voice.

I'm walking again in October for a bit and had thought to start just after Astorga. Maybe I will start just before.

Donna
 
I have the pleasure to have meet David in 2012 and it truly shows how the camino should be, no worries about what the best gear is and how many months of training you had before the camino. Just pure love to being on the camino and to be a life.

He told us how every day he walks to astorga to get the food he offers the pilgrims and how he cleans the 6klm between where he lives and astorga.
"Plastic bottles and other more nasty left overs", we asked him why he does that everyday and he told us that every piece of garbage on the camino can ruin a beautiful comment of inner meditation, so if it's in his power to clean those 6klm to help pilgrims reach that peace ,he would gladly do it. Just a great person
 

krazeekuban

Coordinator Valley of the Sun Chapter/APOC
Camino(s) past & future
May/June(2012) Camino Frances. Sept/Oct Camino Frances, Santiago/Finsterre 2013. 2013 Pilgrim Office Amigo Volunteer. Oct 2014 Camino Ingles , Pilgrim Office in Santiago Vol Sep '15, Camino Portuguese Oct '15,volunteer Sept 2015 Ribadiso muni albergue
Yes, I love this man David. He was the highlight of my entire trip. I know that sounds strange, with all the beautiful churches and vistas and all...but for me, his love and his choice of how to live his life, without possessions and entirely for others, provided the most meaningful moment of the 800 k. The small spiral maze as you walk towards him, his assertion that God is in all things (thus the plural: de los Dioses), the absence of possessions, pretention or pride, the hug and simple message (trust in God) he sent everyone off with...all these things were somehow what I was looking for all along, without knowing till I found it. Given that my personal pilgrimage was undertaken for my sweet grandson, who fought cancer the year leading up to my pilgrimage (we thought he had made it through, but he died two months after I got back)... I think my heart was always on the lookout for solace and a true connection to something divine. This little stand somehow provided it. So glad this thread is celebrating David!
Hello homa- bird were you the beautiful pilgrim I assisted with my cell phone at the pilgrim office while I was an Amigo there? If so I am so very sorry to hear about your grandson. Will keep you in my prayers. Peace
 

Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
Is he still there? I know he had a big fund raising project recently. Stopping at his place was a highlight of my Camino. David oozes kindness and spirituality.
 

Tiesa Graf

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
end of June, this year!
Yes - I met him and found his delightful respite in late June - what a wonderful break in a beautiful spot - I cherish the memory :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
In the spirit of the young Tomás, who gave shelter to all, in his simple refuge above Foncebadon.
 

Sylvia.11

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/30/14- June/20/14
It's been almost 1 year since I walked the Camino from Vezelay to Santiago, but I still remember my encounter with David and his Romanian friend Andri. The place is called La Casa de Los Dioses. Has anyone been by there recently? I hope they're doing alright, and maybe even managed to buy the shed.

I wrote a blog post about David called "The Richest Man in the World," in case you're interested.

http://lifeisacamino.com/2013/10/16/the-richest-man-in-the-world/
It's been almost 1 year since I walked the Camino from Vezelay to Santiago, but I still remember my encounter with David and his Romanian friend Andri. The place is called La Casa de Los Dioses. Has anyone been by there recently? I hope they're doing alright, and maybe even managed to buy the shed.

I wrote a blog post about David called "The Richest Man in the World," in case you're interested.

http://lifeisacamino.com/2013/10/16/the-richest-man-in-the-world/
Just happened to be thinking of Andrei today as I sat for coffee with a friend and found your blog after searching for him on Google. So glad I did! I met him a few months ago, and he has left a lasting impression- a genuine gift of the camino. Strange to think you can miss someone after only a chance encounter. Thanks for blog post! Grateful to see such a tribute. Andri.camino.jpg Andri.camino.jpg
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
Had the pleasure of arriving at this oasis again towards the end of August. I always find it most welcome after the long up and down haul towards it. He is a lovely man and it is a special stop (and step) on one's way.
 

CISSA69

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino de Santiago many many times, volunteered as a hospitalaro and at the CSJ offices in London and have presented on "Camino and Equipment" .
It's been almost 1 year since I walked the Camino from Vezelay to Santiago, but I still remember my encounter with David and his Romanian friend Andri. The place is called La Casa de Los Dioses. Has anyone been by there recently? I hope they're doing alright, and maybe even managed to buy the shed.

I wrote a blog post about David called "The Richest Man in the World," in case you're interested.

http://lifeisacamino.com/2013/10/16/the-richest-man-in-the-world/
Shed bought and knocked down for the most part, vision still strong but Andri has moved on ......
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Late last November before Astorga it was great fun to stop once again at David's Casa de los Dioses; the weather was clear and David SO happy to tell me about the various pilgrims that earlier I had suggested stop and talk with him. Furthermore he was excited to show the changes to his new big barn; slowly his long dream of a pilgrim meeting place within a forest locale is coming true as his selfless goodness spreads. Long may it be so.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
He, David, was still there November 2014 when I passed by - a true saint of the way. SY
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/


Here a photo from November 2014 of David at the casa, sorry, had to crop it a bit as the pilgrim on Davids right side was always very concerned about his online privacy ;-) SY
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
In very thick mist, at 8am on 13 November 2013, and still dark, my sister and I found ourselves outside the parish albergue in Hospital de Orbigo with the door firmly shut behind us. We walked on to Villares for coffee, but the village was still fast asleep. It must have been about 10am, and we’re now very hungry and still coffeeless, when a food and drink stall loomed out of the mist. Then just as quickly vanished again. We looked at each other. “Did you see that?” “No, it’s not real, we’re imagining it.” A few steps later a voice near the coffee pot said to us “Welcome to Paradise!”
 

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
Awesome guy. I know someone said donations is there anything we can bring him? :)
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I don't want to rain on this love fest but what about giving some respect to the poor, lost, homeless souls who habituate the Camino. They may not be productive citizens, but due to PTSD from military service or various mental disorder they are walking with us too. They ebb and flow from place to place and even though you might find them glued to beer can early in the morning, they need our help and support because there is no safety net for them.
 

Judy's Way

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Autumn (2015) and Spring (2019)
It was October 13, 2015 that my husband and I spent time at "The house of the Gods". It was anything but ordinary - a little oasis before Astorga where you can help yourself to food and drink for free. You can drop a donation in a tin if you wish, but it isn’t necessary. We had made a note to look for “The House of the Gods” around Astorga, something our daughter Tania recommended.

Unfortunately David was away that day but we learned about life there from Suzie. She had quite a story to tell about how she came to stay there. She got this far on the Camino de Santiago and felt this is where she belongs. She feels no urge to complete her pilgrimage by reaching Santiago. She had found what she was looking for.

Every day is a blank slate and Suzie never knows what will be written on it from one day to the next. She lives completely in the moment with no expectations. Time has slowed down. They have no technology, just two cats, three chickens and this little place. They keep busy doing such things as getting their water 1.5 km away, cleaning up the Camino, and working on their project of expanding their chicken pen to accommodate more chickens.

I will return in May, 2019 and look forward to meeting David who I have heard so much about. I hope he will not be away this time.
 

JohnLloyd

Author of "Go Your Own Way"
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - SJPDP to SdC - Autumn 2018
Portugués - Porto to SdC - Spring 2019
Francés again - ASAP
I spent some time with David when I passed through in late September and I detected a great deal of weariness in him.

He said he’d been there every day now for nine years, offering support and sustenance for all of us passing Pilgrims.

I felt that it won’t be too long before he walks again, as we all yearn to do,

A legendary figure.


Muchas gracias, David98E73362-29E3-4E70-8AE9-24239C5C1332.jpeg
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Latest from him: He was recently walking Camino de Invierno barefoot, sleeping mostly in the rough. He said
«I had to kill the character I had created myself, that David in The Gods' House, so I decided to leave the place and all the things I had done in it».
No shoes, no money, he walks slower than the rest because if he walks any faster, his feet will pay for it. He finds joy in a water spring or in receiving whatever Providence brings to him, he does not beg for money either.

This is an article about him.

https://www.lavozdegalicia.es/notic...-descalzo-dinero-feliz/0003_201810M7C3991.htm
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-FIN(09/2018)
PORTO-SANT(11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe(01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT(09/2019)
Madrid(7/2020)
Update: David has returned home, I never met him but I will this time. Interesting that David has returned due to the caretaker of the house, Luca receiving a different intention from pilgrims. I met Luca and spent some time with him talking and receiving a tour of the little Oasis of positivity. I thanked Luca, left a donation and walked with a friend towards Astorga. On route I commented to my friend that there was something disingenuous about Luca, his energy wasn't aligned with the place he had claimed to have created. I left feeling a little jaded and was privately critical too my friend about what I thought was Lucas motives, primarily motivated by money and donations. I now understand why David has decided to return home 🤠

This article confirms Davids decision 🙏

 

Faye Walker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Update: David has returned home, I never met him but I will this time. Interesting that David has returned due to the caretaker of the house, Luca receiving a different intention from pilgrims. I met Luca and spent some time with him talking and receiving a tour of the little Oasis of positivity. I thanked Luca, left a donation and walked with a friend towards Astorga. On route I commented to my friend that there was something disingenuous about Luca, his energy wasn't aligned with the place he had claimed to have created. I left feeling a little jaded and was privately critical too my friend about what I thought was Lucas motives, primarily motivated by money and donations. I now understand why David has decided to return home 🤠

This article confirms Davids decision 🙏

The article says that David Vidal has returned because he thought that the pilgrims were not treating Luca well? -- Perhaps it is a mistranslation?
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-FIN(09/2018)
PORTO-SANT(11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe(01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT(09/2019)
Madrid(7/2020)
I've only read the English translation but eitherway you get back what you give out so maybe Luca is not surprised and grateful too be on his own journey. I expect camino walkers can be more demanding, challenging and difficult. Then they become pilgrims and learn to go with the flow 🤠
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Here's David in May of 2017. We had a nice chat with him while eating juicy fresh watermelon at his little "compound". I hope things go well for him now that he has returned. I personally thought the article was a little vague.
Screenshot_2019-09-06-11-16-30.jpg
 

Faye Walker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
The article says that Luca wasn't treating the pilgrims well.
Thank you, I thought that must have been the case, but I admit that my ability to conjugate in Spanish is beginner level.... and my guess is that Google Translate wasn’t doing much better.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I met David in Nov 2012, lovely warm-hearted fellow on a cold day.

I was there in late 2016 and 2017; one of those times David's replacement was there, stripped down to his underwear working in the garden. I always pause there awhile, and as I sat there, many pilgrims walking along saw him, commented on his attire and walked on without stopping. Days later I spoke to someone who said when they'd gone by, he was naked and dancing around.

I'd asked where David was, and he told me he was in Barcelona dealing with a family matter.
 
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